1. What are benefits of the peak performance training with neurofeedback?
Effects depend on the type of training and the quality of equipment employed, among other things. The most frequently listed benefits are:
• better concentration,
• better attention,
• easier decision making,
• reduced number of errors,
• shorter response time,
• enhanced creativity,
• more efficient memory,
• accelerated learning,
• increased immunity to stress,
• increased productivity,
• lowered susceptibility to "burning out",
• quicker and deeper relaxation,
• better mind/body integration,
• enhanced well-being,
• reduced anxiety and stage fright,
• increased self-confidence and assertiveness,
• better self-control,
• development of self-awareness,
• development of emotional intelligence.
2. What applications are the benefits of neurofeedback useful for?
These are selected examples:
• important meetings,
• public speeches,
• creative activity,
• decision making,
• operation under stress,
• critical situations,
• work overloads,
• interpersonal relationships,
• personal development.
3. Who uses the training most frequently?
These are people intensively using the mind; people often taking up challenges. These are also people exposed to considerable levels of daily stress. For example, (in alphabetical order):
• police officers,
4. When are effects of the training perceived?
The perception of results has a few phases. Many people initially experience a so-called "novelty effect", connected with some excitement (similar to the uplift felt after buying a car). This experience is not essential for the training and it usually disappears within a few days. Another component, observed relatively regularly, is improvement in mood (calming down, brightening, cheerfulness, clarity and the like, depending on the type of the training). This usually occurs during a session or within a few next hours. The third component, considered the chief objective of neurofeedback, is gradually progressing (within the space of a dozen or so to a few dozen training sessions) improvement in the psychological functions enumerated previously (like attention, concentration, mental efficiency). With time, higher level of functioning penetrates many fields of life and this begins to be perceived as a natural component.
5. Are the changes permanent?
The changes are permanent! Once the patient’s brain learns how and when to produce a certain brainwave, that ability becomes embedded in a permanent circuit within the brain. The formation of this new circuitry is referred to as Neuroplasticity and is the theoretical basis for how we learn. If an additional stress is introduced later in life, a booster session or two may be required
6. How long will it take?
Neurofeedback training is a learning process and results occur over time. Improvement in many conditions can be seen in about 15 sessions, though permanent change takes longer, not too different from training your muscles at the gym. Initially sessions need to be regular and frequent with a minimum of two-three sessions a week. As the brain re-regulates to healthy patterns of brainwave activity, the frequency of sessions can be reduced. Many symptoms are sufficiently and "permanently" reduced by 20 to 40 sessions. The amount of time depends on the type of problem, consistency of training, and presence of medication in one's system. as well as the starting level of your brain.
The formation of new neurons and connections in the brain typically require two months to develop. Neurofeedback changes existing patterns while encouraging the development of new neuronal connections. This is why change can be seen after a few sessions but may need longer to become permanent.
It is possible to do "intensives," either several sessions per day or daily sessions for several weeks. This is preferred when traveling a long distance for the training, when the situation argues for greater stimulation (for example, stroke recovery or head injury), and anytime the person would like to get a "jump start" on feeling better. The brain does need time after each session to rest and consolidate the experience, so it is important to allow sufficient "down time" between sessions.
7. Is it safe? Are there any side effects?
Neurofeedback is a safe, non-invasive training technique. Unlike medication, nothing is put into the body or brain. Neurofeedback provides information to the brain in the normal way, through the senses via the music and video. This form of training does not push one into alternate mental states or functions. The process is very gentle, and nothing is forced. The essence of neurofeedback is self-regulation, teaching the brain to properly regulate itself. Training is a process of undoing limiting mental habits that are no longer useful, rather than learning a new coping strategy or technique.
Because nothing is being put into the body or brain, there are no side effects in the traditional sense. Some report (with a smile) their experiencing "side effects" of relief, happiness, and freedom from their symptoms - as well as from medication.
8. How is "treatment" different from "training?"
A treatment is the use of specific methods to relieve specific symptoms and illnesses, wherein something is done to you. Training is learning, whether it's physical or mental. In neurofeedback, the client establishes the goals, and the trainer works with the responsiveness of the brain to help the client achieve those goals, promoting, optimal brain function.
As mental function progressively improves, symptoms, illnesses, and disorders naturally diminish and dissolve. Neurofeedback training, like physical fitness training, has very specific goals, but also results in a wide variety of benefits throughout one’s body and mind, which spring naturally from the brain's function as "Grand Central Station" for the body and the mind.
9. What can I expect from Neurofeedback training?
You can expect to feel internal shifts in one to three sessions. (this may take longer for the person currently taking certain prescription medications.)
You may notice early changes such as calmness and reduced stress and anxiety, greater mental clarity, improved attention span, improved sleep quality, a better tolerance of and recovery from irritating or destabilizing situations, increased awareness and sensory acuity.
As training continues, one can expect a reduction in the unwanted symptoms, and may experience a complete elimination of symptoms over time. Breakthroughs in mental or emotional stuckness and personal issues are common, though not dramatic as might be experienced with traditional psychotherapeutic approaches. Many report healing from long-standing histories of trauma without having to relive the experience.
At BETTER BRAINS, we will evaluate your progress with you around your tenth session. It is important to help you notice changes, as symptoms typically drop off quietly. It is also important to us to note whether there is evidence of progress and improvement. There are a small number of people for whom neurofeedback will not be the answer for their symptoms, and we want to guide you appropriately.
10. Does it last?
The effects and benefits of training last long after the training itself has stopped. Because the brain has actually learned (or relearned) a more efficient way of performing, it will continue in this way as new neural pathways are created, thus making lasting change the path of least effort.
Most clients will not need to return. Those returning are often seeking help for a new concern, or perhaps need a "booster" during a difficult or challenging time. Those with seizure disorders may return every few years for one or two sessions. An 80-something client returns every three years for a boost with his memory training.
Head injuries, prescription medications, aging, and trauma can all throw the brain off-kilter. Training makes the brain more resilient, but can't make it "bullet-proof" (yet!)
11. Why choose Neurofeedback over pharmaceutical intervention?
The brain’s primary function is to detect environmental stimuli, process that information, and adapt in order to minimize discomfort. This is the underlying process in neurofeedback. Introducing manufactured substances into the bloodstream and central nervous system circumvents the body’s natural processes and relies on an over-simplification of the world’s most complex system.
Often medications are prescribed to treat symptoms rather than causes. Both the diagnosis and the drug regimen must be very precise to work accurately and successfully. Some drugs may have troubling side effects, , some of which are serious and long term. In addition, drugs work only while they are taken; the effects cease after they are discontinued.
How is it that neurofeedback influences so many different kinds of problems? The brain is central to all of our mental and physical processes. Functional improvements in the brain’s efficiency, effectiveness, resilience, adaptability, and flexibility naturally translate into similar improvements in our physical and mental experience. Most importantly, the optimally functioning brain works more efficiently, saving a great deal of energy. This newfound energy is available to reorganize and restore any physical or mental processes that are not functioning well.
12. What if my medications are helping?
Sometimes symptoms have a chemical source. Medication is an appropriate intervention for chemically based problems. It is important to know that chemical production and chemical balance in the brain and bodyis often regulated by the brainwave activity. Therefore, neurofeedback can also be a powerful adjunct to medication therapies. As balance and regulation improve, trainees find they need less of a medication, or no longer need it at all. These decisions are always made by the trainee working with the prescribing health care provider.
13. Will neurofeedback take the place of insight and goal-oriented psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy traditionally provides the opportunity to learn more about oneself, or to develop new/stronger social and interpersonal skills. Neurofeedback prepares the brain to be able to learn and benefit from the relationship with a psychotherapist. As the brainstabilizes and develops increased flexibility, the potential for personal growth is greatly expanded. One analogy is that neurofeedback training prepares the ground so that your "planting and growing" time with a psychotherapist is most effective
14. Are there any published studies demonstrating the efficacy of this treatment?
For the past 30 years, multiple research centers around the world have demonstrated the effectiveness of this therapy for several types of neurologically based difficulties. HEG NFB has been proven to provide natural relief for conditions such as ADD/ADHD, Migraine, Tension Headaches, Chronic Pain, Memory Loss, Insomnia. There are numerous published medical studies one can find online.